BOOKS I RECOMMEND
1. The Word Exchange
by Alena Graedon
An intriguing dystopian novel based on the “death of print” and the written word. (Let’s hope it remains fiction.) Great for word lovers. The chapters aren’t numbered, but alphabetized. The protagonist works with her father in printing the last edition of the North American Dictionary of the English Language, when things go awry and “word flu” hits. Parts of the novel were difficult to read as the characters grew sicker and lost their vocabulary and had to make up their own words. (You’ll see the word aphasia often.) But you could always figure out their intent (proof of an intelligent author who is good with words herself!).
“When I got back here, I had to lie down. Zat a headache that could have killed a dog. And gwy, I slept for hours and woke up suffering, my head hot and huge, like a pluke, my throat sookh. Zabad achy and stomach sick. I should probably visit a clinic. See if I trebbow more medicine.”
2. Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
I started this classic Russian novel in June, and I just now finished! The intermingling of storylines with very minimal tangents for a novel of this era kept me hooked until the very end. As usual when I read novels like this, I had to read SparkNotes alongside it to help me keep the characters straight. (The worst thing? In a totally unrelated non-fiction book I was reading a month ago, the first line of that book revealed the ending of this book! Ugh! I guess they assumed everyone should know the ending of Anna Karenina by now? I didn’t.)
3. The Invisible Girls
by Sarah Thebarge
This relatively young author (27 at the time) shares this memoir of her struggle with breast cancer (so sad) and her finding purpose again after encountering and befriending a family of Somali refugees on the subway in Oregon.
“I was going to start writing my story—because writing helped me process my experiences, and because crafting a narrative out of my losses was a way of redeeming the pain.
And I was going to try to find God again. Or maybe give Him the chance to find me? I still wasn’t sure who had lost whom.”
4. A Quest for More
Living for Something Bigger than You
by Paul David Tripp
Mixed reaction to this one. Tripp’s writing can get repetitive, and I disagree with some of his theology (i.e., I don’t believe in the “anger of grace”). However, his main point is a great one—that big kingdom living is much more satisfying than settling for my little self-kingdom life.
“We can do big kingdom things (ministry to others) with little kingdom motives (for respect or acceptance).”
by Jacqueline Woodson
Frannie is an African-American elementary student in 1971 when a new white boy enters her classroom, the Jesus Boy. This Newbery Award winning novel shows how Frannie’s world becomes enlarged as she starts seeing life from others’ viewpoints. It’s a short book but it will give you a lot to think about.
I’M READING NOW
6. Life in Motion
An Unlikely Ballerina
by Misty Copeland
Even if you’ve only seen Misty Copeland dance on this commercial, I’m sure you’ll agree she’s amazing. She’s the first (and only, so far) African-American ballerina soloist with the American Ballet Theatre, which is a huge accomplishment. Her memoir chronicles her winding journey there.
7. A Curious Mind
The Secret to a Bigger Life
by Brian Grazer
The author is a Hollywood producer who determined early in life to have numerous “curiosity conversations” with accomplished strangers who were not involved in Hollywood movie-moving.
“Curiosity is itself a form of power, and also a form of courage.”
8. Knowing God
by J. I. Packer
Encouraging, challenging, and sometimes controversial, this theological classic makes you think. A group is reading two chapters a week with Tim Challies and sharing our thoughts on a Facebook group. I’m posting weekly summaries here.
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Once a month we share what’s on our nightstand at 5 Minutes for Books.
What are you reading this month? Please share here.
- Does God toy with us in his wisdom?
- Why doesn’t God give up on us?